Minister of Skills Audit and Development Paul Mavima has raised concern over the increasing trend where young graduates are leaving the country to pursue careers as nurse aides in developed nations.
Zimbabwe has lost hundreds of thousands of skilled workers due to limited job opportunities in the country especially for young people holding degrees.
The country's national unemployment rate is 21% while the rate is higher among youths.
Addressing young professionals and executives in Harare, Mavima said the youths were de-skilling themselves.
He lamented the brain drain phenomenon, highlighting the irony of graduates dedicating years to studying in Zimbabwe only to find employment in menial roles abroad.
“Young graduates are running away from opportunities and areas that are very useful to them in the economic development of this nation.
“They are filling the gaps that exist in the Global North, especially in the care field. After four years at universities, they go to the United Kingdom,” he said.
“They are given basic training on being a nurse aide and then do the job for 10_15 years, at the end they would have de-skilled themselves in the areas that are important.”
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Mavima added: “They get a comfortable life, not a phenomenal life. After 15 years they are looking at the sunset of their involvement in the labour market. They realise that it’s too late to go back home and they would also have reached the limit of what they should have done.”
He said local youths possessed valuable skills that could be instrumental in driving the country's progress and needed more knowledge on modern vocations including entrepreneurship.
“There will not be room for mediocrity in everything that we do as a nation. As such, while our skills development drive will focus on hard skills, emphasis will also be placed on soft skills and a culture shift towards issues such as alpha leadership, high performance, agility, critical thinking, problem solving, entrepreneurship, (and) financial literacy.
“These skills are necessary for us to achieve the level of productivity and competitiveness that can usher us into the upper middle-income economic bracket,” he said.
Mavima called on the young people to shun risky behaviours like drug and substance abuse emphasising the importance of responsible sexual behaviour:
“I call upon youths to shun drugs and substance abuse, as well as risky sexual activities. Let me tell you something you youngsters, there is science for mating as Africans we lag behind in understanding these things.
“We are not supposed to just mate anyhow. Don't just pick a random person and mate. You should first consider whether your partner will add value to you and also channel your marriage towards the economic development of the nation.”